[By Nic Lindh on Saturday, 20 December 2014]
As a maestro of being bad at marketing, I never even thought to talk about the link blog I’ve been running for a while. Because with a blog and Twitter and whatnot, there sure wasn’t any place for me to talk about the fact that I’m finding interesting links and sharing them…
Urgh. Bad at Internet.
Still, I did. Run it, I mean. For what it’s worth. And I intend to keep running it at its new home.
UPDATE Jan. 7, 2017. I didn’t keep it running. Nope. Twitter and Facebook and whatever are for sharing links, not blogs, it seems. /UPDATE.
Moving the link blog (aka “The Flatline” in an obvious William Gibson homage. And speaking of Gibson, it’s upsetting that with all these new idiotic top-level domains like .plumbing there’s no .cyber or .sprawl. Heathens.) to its new domain and obvious new name—“The Link Dump”—turned out to be not hard but annoying in that “have to spend time in the Terminal fighting things” way I’d hoped we would be past in 2014.
Still, there were things to learn in moving a WordPress site from one URL to the other without downtime.
The most important is that by now you should only self-host your Internet presence if you enjoy dorking with computers.
Seriously. Self-hosting is still hard and involves a lot of arcana. Which if you’re the kind of person who have asked yourself, “How does a BIOS actually work?” and then figured it out only means you’ll have to sink some time into it. But if you’re normal you’ll have to call somebody.
So unless you enjoy knowing a lot about incredibly specific things or you have a tame nerd at hand, you should not self host your stuff.
Newline. Newline. Italics. Should not.
Unless you get off on doing it yourself, you’re going to have to pay somebody a lot of money. And the teenager across the street who says he can do it for a couple of movie passes? Maybe he can, and maybe he can’t, but even if he can, will he take your call when the site goes down during the school day?
So what should you do instead of self-hosting? For a simple blog like this or the link blog, just use Tumblr, WordPress.com or Squarespace. (Disclaimer: I’ve never used Squarespace, but the people who have seem to like it.)
This way there are platoons of people who get paid to make sure your site stays up while you sit on the beach sipping a chilled beverage, plotting your next post.
But, a lot of people say at this point, I have specific things my site must do that WordPress.com or Tumblr or whatnot doesn’t do, so I must self-host!
To which I say, How much money do you want to spend to have that particular specific feature? Because you’ll need to hire a Web developer to make that happen. And how crucial is that feature? WordPress and Tumblr are pretty mature platforms at this point and have built in most of the functionality sane people want on their sites. So if you absolutely must have some functionality they don’t have, you’re either on to something great or you’re nuts. Which one is it?
The main thing to worry about is the URL: You must own your own domain. Fortunately you don’t have to spend more than $10 or $20 per year for a domain.
You must own your domain so you can move around. If you start on WordPress.com, then decide, You know what, I do need crazy feature X I can only get if I self-host, if you own your own domain you can just move all your content over and keep all your Google juice.
But if you’re on awesomeness.wordpress.com then decide to move to awesomeness.ninja you’ll have to let your readers know about the change, hope they update their bookmarks, then wait for your Google juice to regenerate, which will suck.
But Nic, you say, didn’t you just move your link blog across domains? Isn’t that what sparked this rant?
You are correct. Did I mention I suck at marketing?